Seattle native Noah Gunderson is slowly, but surely, capturing the hearts of his listeners by wearing his own on his sleeve in his uninhibited songwriting.
In American tradition, songs and drinks are often mixed the same: one part heavy, one part syrup, and a bitter dash to make it burn. Hurray for the Riff Raff know the blend well.
Drawing from a background diverse enough to take him from the fields of Maine potato farm to social work in Boston's inner city, singer/songwriter Ellis Paul tells tales of struggle and triumph in the style of folk heroes like Woody Guthrie.
"Are you trying to get a master's degree in musicology," the Freight Hoppers' David Bass was asked during an interview, "or are you out there really raising hell and having fun with the music?"
San Fermin is the name of an internationally-known Spanish festival in which brave, or insane, individuals run through the streets of Pamplona followed by stampeding bulls. San Fermin, however, is also an indie pop band that is stampeding its way to the top.
Caroline Smith, a Minneapolis singer-songwriter, will not be pigeon-holed. The self-proclaimed, and unabashed, fan of '90s rhythm and blues, pop and neo-soul makes music influenced by all of them, but in a way that doesn't exactly resemble any particular style, other than her own.
St. Louis' garage pop duo, Bruiser Queen, sounds like a '60s girl group, except with only one girl. And, well, a guy.
It's cringingly lazy to compare a performer like Robert Sarazin Blake to Dylan, but it's almost impossible not to on a track like "OK, OK, OK," in which Blake strums a featherweight rhythm as a backdrop for lyrics that border on spoken word.
There are bands that should stay in the basement and bands that make you grateful they climbed the stairs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. certainly fits the latter.